Monuments protected by Archaeological Survey India reopened in Karnataka

Chennakeshava Temple at Somanathapura in Mysuru was reopened on Monday.

Chennakeshava Temple at Somanathapura in Mysuru was reopened on Monday.   | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

Monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey India (ASI) across the State were reopened to the public as part of the graded unlocking amid a protest by local villagers at Somanathapura.

The monuments had been out of bounds for visitors, tourists and the general public ever since the nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25 to curb the spread of COVID-19. During the first phase of unlocking, the ASI had announced the reopening of 820 monuments, including places of worship, from June 8. The remaining monuments were reopened on Monday.

However, at Somanathapura in Mysuru district, there was a protest by locals, who assembled in front of the 13th century Chennakeshava Temple and urged the authorities to shut it down till the pandemic subsided. About 60 people from the village expressed their opposition to the ASI’s move to reopen the monument on the grounds that it could draw visitors and jeopardise the safety of the local community. However, there were no visitors to the site, which was deserted till late in the afternoon though normally the famed Hoysala monument attracts scores of tourists.

A local ASI employee said the decision to reopen monuments was that of the Union government, but added that they would communicate the concerns of the villagers to their higher-ups and abide by their decision. The ASI has issued a set of guidelines to be followed, as per which monuments that are not in containment zones can be reopened. The guidelines also state that the protocols issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and all specific orders of the State or the district administration need to be followed.

Online tickets

The ASI has also discontinued issuing tickets manually at counters and is making it mandatory for potential visitors to procure e-tickets from the official ASI website. This is part of the measures in place to minimise contact and ensure social distancing. There are other regulations, including restricting the number of people visiting a monument so as to prevent crowding.

There are 747 ASI-protected sites in Karnataka, and 13 of them have ticketed entry.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 9:06:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/asi-protected-monuments-in-karnataka-reopened/article32006382.ece

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